Thursday, December 13, 2012

"How are the chicks?" Someone asked...

I invite you to see for yourself!
Mama Hen is ever vigilant

These chicks will be 3 weeks old on Friday and Saturday.

When we open the door to get into their run, the chicks stand back, while mama hen, who I had to reach around to get this picture, is right there watching us.

This picture shows their run inside the coop...and it includes their nest box.  I was very surprised to see a teeny, tiny egg in their box today.  It wasn't there this morning even.  I am guessing that Miss Muffet (AKA mama hen) is starting to lay again.

It was so cute, that I put it in another next box to take a picture of it with the other eggs...then I left it there for the girls to find later, just so I don't forget to tell them about it!  (I know they will come tell me about this tiny little egg, lol!)

When you open the hatch for collecting eggs, Mama Hen is right there to make sure we won't hurt her chicks.

I let her get a little fresh air...she has been in the coop now for WEEKS.  She just stood there and looked around.

Then she seemed to notice the rest of the flock outside.  She seemed to want to check out what they were doing.

It won't be that much longer now before she will want to get away from her chicks.  Another 2-3 weeks or so.  Then we will let her out of what will be a pretty cramped space by then.  The chicks will stay in this little area until they are almost completely full grown so the rest of the flock won't pick on them too much.  If we let them out too early, they will be killed by everyone we will definitely be waiting for awhile!
Just like everything else we have experienced, living on 5 acres, this has had quite a learning curve for us!  Starting with being so unprepared that we lost that first chick, to finding a way to give mama hen the space she needs to raise these other 3, learning how to candle the eggs, and seeing the different sized shadows of the chick inside, watching to see when she leaves the next, and when to discard the rest of the eggs...but the most profound thing I have learned is a deeper meaning of a Bible verse.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing."
As we have watching Mama Hen, gather these little chicks under her.  Making sure they are warm.  Watching to see that they had enough to eat, drink, and then back to the nest where she could keep them warm, or as close to the heat lamp as she could get them.  It has been amazing to watch her sternly, but gently bring her chicks where she wanted them.
On the other side of things, we have seen when a chick was just not ready to settle down and take a nap...the chick will dodge, and dart around the comfort of its mother's wings.  It will run from her, until the mother hen decides to settle in with the others, who are there with her, and let that 'wayward chick' run itself out.  Then when that chick is willing, it will come back, and the mama hen, will ruffle out her feathers and wings and bring that chick back to the safety, warmth, and comfort that she is only able to provide when the chick is willing.
My children and I have watched this unfold and have talked about this significance of what we are seeing in respect to the verse I posted above.  What an incredible blessing it is that God has provided such a beautiful picture for us to help us to better understand His Word!
God is good, all the time!

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